Reflections 1972 Battle
of Saltley Gate – 1984 Battle of Orgreave
1972 Saltley, flying pickets sleeping on bedsit floors,
students on the picket line shoulder to shoulder with the miners, amidst the
three day week and power cuts. At the Co-op Dairy (now closed) we work seven days, cows don’t
stop making milk. No power cuts but no
heating and working by torchlight when necessary it’s February and cold.
1978 Grimethorpe colliery.
Helmet lamp and tally stepping into the cage with much trepidation,
plummeted into the bowels of the earth and a mile walk to the coal face. Eyes on the ground eyes on the roof, thankful
for the helmet. Hands and knees across
the coal face, I’m only 5’-2’’,the next slice is cut, the props removed and the
roof dropped. Scary. Back on the surface there’s nowhere for women
1979 – Tony Benn speaks at the Miners Gala in Lock Park –
absolutely no recall of what he said, but I do retain the images of the
procession with the Miners Banners.
1984 – Barnsley. The
world has changed since Saltley; new legislation about picketing the
Government’s prepared. I’m working at
the County Council (that’s gone too).
County Hall, Soup Kitchen on the Members Car Park, proud men digging for
fuel on the muck stacks, the miners stand together. Elsewhere opinions are divided, the
Government’s not going to move. County
Engineers daily counting the cost of damage. No hope no prospects Margaret Thatcher will
not suffer the same fate as Ted Heath.
As this work is for an exhibition in Barnsley I want to make a connection. Barnsley was founded on glass making, linen weaving, engineering and textiles as well as the mining industry. The miners founded their own welfare clubs and looked after one another.
I am a textile artist. My inspiration is born of my love of the landscape. My work is driven by my concern about how I see humankind using the earth's resources with seemingly little regard for who comes next. We seem to have lost our sense of living with nature, of being part of it, we have lost our reverence for nature; we have become detached. The work is intended to make us more aware of our presence, it does not offer answers.